A Decade Of Killings By A Police Force

Police in riot
William Anderson
February 5, 2021

179 people died or were killed between 2009 through 2019 due to incidents involving police - in just one regional area. That’s a massive number, and the details of who those people are gives us key information about policing and state violence.

A report titled ”Death by the State,” from the ArchCity Defenders, points to St. Louis city and county, Jefferson County, and St. Charles County in Missouri as places where 73% of these deaths were Black people. The more you look at the details, the more you see a pattern of disposability.

Almost half of the people to die in jail during this period were Black, and the youngest person to fall victim to this violence was only twelve. This is the area Ferguson is located, where Black people disproportionately account for 85% of traffic stops and 93% of arrests. There’s a deeper message in the data.

These are people with families, stories, and lives that shouldn’t be reduced to just numbers. In a country that sets global records for police violence, we have to ask why letting police kill so many people at will is accepted as normal.

Police have embraced efforts to track these shootings, but that’s not enough. The police must stop killing people so ruthlessly. We’ve seen time and time again, from mass shootings to the Capitol riot, that deadly force is often reserved for Black people.

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